Verify the Scope and Cash the Check
QA and QC activities happen throughout the project. Remember, QA is a management process that is prevention-driven, while QC is a project manager process that is inspection-driven. Now all of this is really good on paper and in theory, but in the real world it comes down to pleasing the one person that matters most in any project: the customer.
Throughout the project, the customer must participate in scope verification. Scope verification falls into the same category as QC and inspection. However, the difference is that QC is done before the customer becomes involved, and scope verification is done in tandem with the customer. QC wants to keep mistakes out of the customers' hands, while scope verification allows the customer to say things like, "Yep, looks good." Or "I don't know what I'm looking at, but I believe you." Or, "You're standing too close and your breath smells like onions."
Project deliverables need to be inspected throughout the project—not just at the project's end. As projects move through various phases, hit major milestones, and finally (we hope) arrive at project completion, scope verification must be performed to ensure that the work is of good quality and that the project is in alignment with the customer's vision.
Quality, like it or not, must be planned, must be inspected, and must meet the customer's objectives. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to my local pub for a Reuben sandwich and a beer. Well, at least I'm hopeful.